#TACTIX :: Does Weather Affect Joint Pain

Feels like rain

“There must be a storm coming…I can feel it in my bones.” If you have heard this phrase or a similar one involving rain or another significant weather event predicted by achy joints, you are not alone. Nearly 75% of arthritis sufferers believe rain and cold worsen their pain. Maybe you have experienced this phenomenon yourself. Chronic pain conditions, joint pain, stiffness, or aches occur on rainy or cold days. So is the old wives’ tale true, does the weather affect joint pain?

Weather affecting joint pain studies

The belief of weather changes affect the body can be traced all the way back to the fifth century B.C.  The scholar, Hippocrates, also known as the “father of modern medicine,” was one of the first who noted a definite connection between certain weather conditions and pain. Current science is not as definitive. It’s common to blame joint pain flare-ups on changes in the weather, and many doctors believe people can feel more joint pain on cold, rainy days. But the research on the connection between the two isn’t clear.

Scientists, many at the University of Manchester, in the United Kingdom, released findings of a study that exposes a link between chronic pain and humid, windy days with low atmospheric pressure. The study, titled “Cloudy with a Chance of Pain,” found days with higher humidity, lower pressure, and stronger winds are more likely associated with high pain days, a result consistent with the beliefs of many of the participants. Another study from 2017 found no connection between rainy weather and symptoms of back or joint pain. This conclusion was based on a staggering amount of data: more than 11 million medical visits occurring on more than two million rainy days and nine million dry days.

How weather may play a part in joint pain

Most doctors and scientists believe air pressure may be the culprit for weather-related pain. Barometric pressure, also called atmospheric pressure or air pressure, is the force or weight of the air surrounding us. Changes in barometric pressure may make your tendons, muscles, and any scar tissue expand and contract, and that can create pain in joints affected by arthritis. Air pressure can also lead to headaches and migraines. Plus, when the weather is poor outside due to rain or cold, people tend to stay indoors and lounge more. This can cause stiff and achy joints. If you start to feel sore, you may experience sadness or depression which can magnify the perception of pain.

Weathering the pain

You don’t have to move to Arizona or Florida…studies have shown the pain travels with you. Whether it’s real or perceived, there are steps to help with stiffness, headaches, joint pain, and back pain. When the weather changes and temperatures drop, try to keep yourself warm. Layer up and take warm showers and baths. Stay limber and do light exercises that are gentle on the joints. Contact a chiropractor like Chiropractix about additional steps to take. Massages, stretching, warm compresses, and other chiropractic techniques can help overcome joint pain regardless of weather changes.

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